How Toxic Chemicals from Illegal Marijuana Grow Operations Can Contaminate Property Making It A Hazard and Uninhabitable

The markets for cannabis use as tripled over the last decade and this is increasing illegal grow operations within suburban housing.  Not only is demand on the rise for recreational use, in recent times we have seen an increase in demand for medicinal uses creating unforeseen problems with illegal grow operations. In particular, concealed grow operations in apartments have increased.

The poorly, enclosed and concealed ventilated operations may concentrate fumes from chemicals and pesticides. However, one of the major problems is potentially toxic levels of mold spores as a result of humid, warm conditions that are normal for growing. The number of commercial buildings and houses that are utilized for planting marijuana is rising. Grow rooms are becoming more common. Grow rooms do cause a great amount of damage to property as toxic chemicals contaminate walls, ceilings and ducts producing a chemically hazardous environment that lingers long after the operation is taken down and the police has handed back the property.

Here are some of the hazards associated with grow rooms:

The most hazardous circumstances prevalent in each grow was the existence of abnormal levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) and ultrafine particles. The growers mainly will utilize industrial grade propane powered burners to deliberately generate excessively CO2 levels to support plant growth. The Propane burners as well inadvertently generate great amounts of carbon monoxide and ultrafine particles. As a result, normal residential ventilation is not capable to handle these contaminants. The concentration of these pollutants can be so high that they can kill a person.

The electrical wiring situation of the grow operations is another most prevalent hazardous situation. Very elaborate and extensive wiring is present within these houses. It is obvious that these wiring never meets electrical code and complicated wiring arrangements and unfaithful exposed are almost always found. The residential cabling system is basically unable to handle the electrical requirements of grow, and because of this, growers often tap directly into the overhead power lines to acquire the necessary electrical power.

Next greatest hazard is the grow-lights used. The grow lights generate huge exposures to UV light. In return, the UV spectrum may not only spoil unguarded surfaces but as well, the UV light is sufficiently energetic to break down airborne materials (such as pesticides or vapors etc) into a soup of other unknown contaminants with unpredictable and unexpected health consequences.

Insufficient ventilation may also cause numerous problems. If humidity is enabled to get too high, or if ventilation exhausts in improper places, such as crawlspaces, attics, chimneys or mold, mortar damage and wood rot can result. Once moisture content attains about 19% in building materials for 48 hours rot and mold will grow to begin digesting the building materials.

Ventilated into chimneys the excess moisture can combine with creosote to produce acids that dissolve mortar. Chimney can then leak into living areas. As mortar crumbles bricks/stones are displaced and can fall out. Growers need ventilation to consume heat, odor, and moisture and bring in the fresh air, in most situations. Some growers will seal the room completely with no ventilation. A sealed room presents, even more, dangers to occupants and building.